Top Priority

In a stack of papers called Instruction.

  • Jun
  • 30
  • 2007

Washing my face in the bathroom of my room at Okayama City Hotel, a new and fairly fancy hotel in Okayama, Japan, I noticed a package labeled Razor on the counter. Hairbrush and Toothbrush were stacked behind Razor. This is a common thing in Japanese hotels. You’ll find a few of these packages in my bathroom at home, too. They come in quite handy, whether on a trip or when I simply run out of toothpaste. In a hotel room, these packages are a nice touch and have likely saved hapless visitors plenty of times.

But here’s the trouble with Razor: it read “The health and beauty of our customers is our top priority.” This is a hotel speaking.

The top priority of a hotel should be comfort and safety of customers, not health and beauty. They aren’t a salon; they are a hotel, a place where visitors come to sleep and treat as home pro tem. Naturally, this lead me to think about the classroom. You’re there already, aren’t you?

As a teacher, what’s your top priority? Is it technology? Is it standards? Is it fun? Is it buzzwords? I argue that any of those causes teachers to stray away from what their real top priority should be: educating students in the area of expertise their teaching credential proclaims.

If your course was to be advertised on some kind of package, what would your slogan be? Better yet, what would your students say it is and what would you like it to be?


1. Grapas says:

[6/30/2007 - 5:09 pm]

Not to hijack your post with something only marginally related, but I love looking at I sometimes wonder if Asian countries who struggle with english have similar sites for Westerners who struggle with Japanese, or Mandarin…

P.S. Not sure if technical trainers count as teachers, but it’s too late now, I’ve posted all the same. :)

2. Laurie says:

[6/30/2007 - 9:31 pm]

I think about this quite a bit actually. I think my motto would read something along the lines of:
This Enlgish classroom is where students learn to read what they like and to figure out how to like what they read.

And “Think with your pen.”

(In my end of year surveys many students remarked that I use this phrase to inveigle students to give voice to their ideas only by using their pen and paper. I can’t quite figure out if they like it or hate it or both, but they sure do remember it.)

3. Laurie says:

[6/30/2007 - 9:32 pm]

Welcome home by the way.

4. Joni says:

[6/30/2007 - 9:56 pm]

Reading your post reminded me of something we are doing in class about assumptions. There is ALWAYS another view. Perhaps “Health and Beauty” really are their priority because appealing to vanity is a for sure shot when they know they have your comfort and safety already taken care of, an assumption by them which is clearly supported by your continued stay in their establishment. Just a fragment of a thought. Of course I understand where this entire topic took you and I think you ask a valid question. So what would your slogan be?

5. Todd says:

[7/1/2007 - 12:11 am]

Joni, my point is that health and beauty should never be a priority of a hotel since that’s not what hotels are in the business of providing.

My slogan? Thinking On Paper? Hmmm… Improve Your Thinking Through Reading And Writing or maybe Writing And Reading Can Be Fun (If You Want Them To Be). Something like that.

I suppose my kids would think Endless Work Your Teacher Is Never Satisfied With or Projects You Might Learn Something From (If You Want To). That’s the sense I get. I’ll write more on that when I read those end-of-year surveys.

Thanks, Laurie. Glad to be back and glad to see you’re reading. And I’ll be honest, I had to look up inveigle. Nice one.